Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Nedra's Neighbor - 50 Shades of Gray
About a week after our last reveal, we left for a trip to Kenya and South Africa. We spent 6 days on safari . Our guides were amazing - so very knowledgeable about the habits of all the animals. We saw many animals thanks to their expertise and learned much about their interactions with each other. They could tell by their stature and behavior if they were feeling threatened, perhaps by an approaching lion or leopard. It was especially interesting to learn that certain animals would often be found in the same areas because of a protective relationship that they had. Warthogs could be found near giraffes as they provide protection with forceful kicks from their long legs. Warthogs and hyenas often lived in the same areas - a pack of hyenas are able to take down a predator and provide protection for both. We saw oxpeckers, usually more than one, on cape buffaloes and rhinos. Oxpeckers eat the ticks that cover the hides of these animals. Zebras grazed with antelope. If the antelope spotted a threatening animal they would all stand and look in the same direction and make a whistle-like sound to alert the others of danger. It was fascinating how they all lived and worked together for mutual benefit. During one of our excursions, our safari guide, George, was explaining one of these relationships. He said, "the oxpeckers and buffalo could be neighbors, they need each other". A lightbulb when on and I knew what I would do for the next challenge.
I used a photo taken by my husband on safari for inspiration. I printed a black and white copy and was determined to try thread painting again. I reviewed Rita's posting from her Spring piece which she thread painted. I bought the instructor's book and soluble stabilizer in two weights. I traced an outline of the photo on the stabilizer, then layered both stabilizers and put tuille in the middle. I used an embroidery hoop and set to work. Amazing how well it comes out when you follow the guidelines!!! I really enjoyed bringing the buffalo and oxpeckers to life with the stitching. Though I quickly learned that an almost completely gray animal is very hard to do . Despite using many shades of gray(50???) it was difficult to achieve the right depth and dimension, especially in the neck and head. I really liked working on the horns and ears and feel they came out the best. And to top it off the oxpeckers were basically the same color and equally difficult to depict!! When the stitching was completed, I dissolved the stabilizer and trimmed the tuille and stitched it down to the background which I added greenery to and an overlay of tuille for contrast and effect. I included George's quote which was printed on a piece of background fabric. I machine quilted and did a thin traditional binding for completion. Below is John's photo.